I hate to quote the Moonie Times as much as anybody does, but this article attracted my attention on a Google Alert. Please read the article, and I’d appreciate any input from our Atlantans Vindaloo, and from any other Indians or people familiar with Indian politics. I also have to admit that I am relying entirely on the account of this speech and its aftermath from the Washington Times, which is probably foolhardy of me.
In February (in typical wingnut fashion, the article is very light on facts/dates and verifiable sources, a hard habit to break) Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar spoke at Emory University’s Emerging India Summit in Atlanta. Her speech was about the political, ethnic, and religious diversity of India. As part of this speech, she mentioned that Sonia Gandhi, leader of the Congress Party (the largest party in India), is Christian.
In trying to avoid the toxic effects of religion in southwest Asia, India tends to entirely eliminate any comment or attention on political leaders’ religious beliefs and practices. In keeping with that, when the Indian Embassy published Mrs. Shankar’s speech, it censored any mention of Gandhi’s religion from the speech.
This offended certain forces in the Indian Press, since her speech was about religious diversity. I only know about one or two sources in India from the Washington Times article. I don’t know anything about their political/religious leanings, if they’re as crazy as the Times, nor do I know this about any of the two or three other sources that turn up on a GoogleNews search.
What do you think? Is it healthier in India to avoid mention of religion about politicians? Would that be healthier in the Middle East? Would that be healthier in Georgia? It should go without saying that part of this avoidance of discussing religion of politicians in India includes the politicians themselves avoiding the subject. I don’t think we have a hope of that in US politics, especially not in Georgia. I do fully support the idea of censoring any public mention of a politician’s religion, though most of those would be censoring the politician him/herself.